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17.3.18

Tourism in Leuven - The gothic town hall

Hello folks, 

As you may know, I live in Leuven, an adorable Belgian town. Since I'm becoming more active working as a travel blogger, why not to introduce you to some of the best attractions of my own city? With the support of Visit Leuven I will create a series of posts and videos about the main attractions of the municipality, starting today with the old town hall.

The gothic town hall is a very special place for Christian and me, as it is the place where we got married on a lovely sunny day in September. Since then I've been curious and looking forward to explore the whole building and to share my experiences with you. The tourism department offers daily guided tours every day at 3 pm, mainly in Dutch, French and English, but also in German or Spanish for larger groups. Before booking your visit, I recommend you to e-mail them to ask in which language the visit will be conducted, as it can vary according to the day. Furthermore, you can purchase the ILUVLeuven Ticket beforehand online, which will give you access not only to the town hall, but also to the University library & tower, M-Museum Leuven and the M-Treasury of Saint Peter for only 16€. 

We made a visit to the old town last Sunday, and we were very lucky, as the weather is starting to get warmer, not much rain heading our way.  The tour started at Naamsestraat 3 and then we moved to the magnificent front of the building. The city hall construction started in 1439 and it passed by several modifications since them. The impressive 236 statues of public figures we can see nowadays were just added around 1850 and the staircase dates back to 1709. The statues we see are also not the original ones, which are saved in the attic. Can you imagine how it looked like before those modifications? One of the highlights was to take time to observe the little-carved bases of the statues niches representing scenes from the Bible about sin and punishment, as the story of Adam and Eve. Those figures are from the original project and it served as a warning, to keep the order and good behaviour of the medieval population of Leuven. I love to learn about history and society through architecture! 

After our external tour, we entered the foyer, a special room who serves nowadays as a reception for events. In the foyer we can see many flags, the most interesting ones are from the 7 noble families of Leuven, which originated from the seven daughters of a 9th-century knight named Batijn. The next step was to visit the three salons, which are the oldest part of the building. Their interior design of the rooms dates from the XIV century and it's home to important paintings and panels, as the Resurrection of Christ from Otto Van Veen, teacher of Rubens. It was a bit sad to see that the panel of Van Veen was damaged by poorly made restorations done during the last centuries. Another highlight was the gothic hall on the second floor. Part of the beam blocks are original and carved to show the life of Maria and Christ. It's an amazing working space for our town hall councillors to work, isn't it?  It keeps being used nowadays. Next to this hall, we entered another small one, which keeps its original star-shaped wooden vault. The last room we visited is the mayor's office, which served as a meeting room for the Saint Peter's Lords of the Seven Noble Families, previously mentioned. My words aren't enough to share with you all the details and stories, you should definitely visit and experience it by yourself. If you love history as much as I do, I'm sure you will like the tour. 

After our visit we had a coffee on the terrace of the Oude Market, the self-proclaimed longest open-air bar space of Belgium. It's definitely the longest and most beautiful one I've seen ;) It was the cherry on the top of the cake of our #SundayLove.

Last but not least, if you are coming to Belgium and would like to know more about Leuven, you can download the app Leuven Walks to help you find the best and most secret places of the old town.



9.3.18

Stonehenge and Old Sarum


Hello folks!

Last year I lived in England for 2 months. At the time me and my husband decided to make the most out of it, visiting as many cities as we could. It's no secret that I love ancient history, so for me Stonehenge and Old Sarum close to Salisbury were a must.

It was a bright cold day in October, and the birds were flying high in the sky. Stonehenge was waiting for us. We decided to go by train from Southampton to Salisbury and it took us around 30 minutes. In the front of the station in Salisbury we bought tickets for the coach company called The Stonehenge Tour for £29.00 each including the entrance fee for both sites, you can buy it online as well. It was a very comfortable ride, we enjoyed the view over the fields of Wiltshire whilst we could hear historical information through the headphones provided by the company. An extra advantage of this special bus is that we had a fast track access to the Stonehenge historical site, beating the queues. This is definitely the best way to go to Stonehenge and Old Sarum by public transportation. Thanks, Christian's colleagues for this piece of advice ;)

The magical stone circle slowly emerged on the horizon during our 5 minutes free shuttle bus ride from the entrance. It was stunningly beautiful and I felt so happy and glad for having the opportunity to see and explore this Neolithic monument, built around 5 thousand years ago. The cherry on the cake were the crows soaring above Stonehenge, they seemed like the ancient guardians to the holy grounds. In the complex, you can not only see the famous monoliths but also many, many burial mounds from the bronze age, which was really interesting for me, as I did not know how many ancient remains there are and so close to the circle! If you are going with kids you will love it, behind the entrance they had a small tend with actors dressed as Neolithic peasants, explaining how the life was at that time. The Stonehenge visitor centre also hosts a museum and a cafeteria. To be honest, the museum wasn't impressive, but we liked to stay there to warm up, as it was really cold and windy. 

After visiting Stonehenge we headed to Old Sarum, which unearths over 2,000 years of history. It was a hillfort during the iron age, a settlement for Romans and home for a medieval castle, prison and cathedral. The ruins of the cathedral and the castle of William the Conqueror are there and we can literally walk through it, as you can see on my video. Particularly the nice atmosphere and the amazing view of Salisbury was one of my favourite things about Old Sarum, it was relaxing and somehow very romantic, as we could see many other couples walking there, so dreamy! The one thing I also loved as much is their little shop, where they sell delicious jams and other local specialities. On our way back to Salisbury we, unfortunately, missed our coach. Actually,  the company told us we could take any local coach to go back, however, we had to take just the green ones, that were never coming, so we decided to pay for a regular one. This was not a nice situation when the bus driver explained it to us, but apparently, it happens with many other tourists, so keep that in mind to don't make the same mistake as we did. 

Stonehenge and Old Sarum


Arriving in Salisbury, we decided to explore the town and even though it was already 6 pm and dark we had a great time. We went to the cloister of the cathedral and explored the lovely lanes. We were very surprised about the beauty of the city and are sorry for not dedicating a full day to visit Salisbury, so maybe next time in England we will do it. It was one of the best days of my life and I will never forget about this mystical and special places. 

    

21.2.18

Activities for your holiday in Austria

Hello folks!

The end of the winter is such a strange time. There’s the excitement silently building in the background for easter, while I'm here nostalgicly remembering of my December holidays. Last year, Christian and I went on a family trip to Austria over New Year, in which we enjoyed lovely moments together, from visiting Salzburg to skiing in BöhmerWald Arena.

Austria is one of those countries I've been expecting to visit for a long time, so I got very excited when Christian's aunt invited us to stay at her beautiful house in Rohrbach - Oberösterreich.  Rohrbach is an extremely tranquil village in the middle of nowhere, it's the perfect place to disconnect with the rest of the world, to relax and to have quality time with the family. I loved our long walks in the snow and the cosy chats at the balcony during tea time. As you may know, I was born in Brazil, so for me, there is nothing more magical and special than snowflakes floating outside the window, it looks like a miracle.

One of the highlights of our trip included driving to Salzburg with Christian, my mother in law and his aunt. The drive up through the Austrian mountains covered with snow was stunning. We pulled up near the train station and we walked to one of the highest areas of the city, the Kapuzinerberg, where we had a breathtakingly beautiful view of the entire town and the  Hohensalzburg Castle. I have to admit that it was a bit challenging to access this place, as the floor was very slippery because of the ice. If you want to do this during the winter: take a good pair of highking shoes with you.

After climbing the hills of Salzburg we've continued our tour exploring the shopping lanes around Getreidegasse. The locals are very proud of their traditional and sophisticated shops, from the Hadered Custom Made Shoes to the Lanz Tracht Fashions - both dating from the earlier begging of the XX century. Meaning, the shops are also a place to be if you want to immerse yourself in the local culture. I wish I had bought the whole showcase of Dantendorfer!  Arriving in the downtown we also visited Mozart's house, this was a very nice experience for me, as my grandma, who is a professional piano player and loves Mozart, was teaching me a lot about his music, when I was little.  It was a privilege to understand a bit more about the life of the composer and to see the place he was born! Finally, at the end of the afternoon, we've decided to warm up drinking a hot chocolate in Kaffeehäferl, one of those lovely coffee places of Getreidegasse.

On another great day in snowy Austria, we headed to the BöhmerWald Arena, in the district of Mühlviertel, as I really wanted to ski. The place is perfect for cross-country skiing, offering more than 70 km well-prepared routes. We had a great time, although I was falling a couple of times! I would like to once again thank Christian's uncle for being a great and very patient skiing instructor, he saved the day. In the evening we took shelter in the restaurant of the INNs HOLZ hotel and ordered some delicious cappuccinos and apfelstrudel with hot vanilla sauce defrost. I fell in love with the interior design of the place, it has a cute little wood house inside the restaurant, creating a warm and cosy atmosphere. A very special fact about the INNs HOLZ is that the waiters were wearing the dirndl, those beautiful traditional Austrian dresses, I wish I could buy one of those. Oh, I would live in this hotel forever!

It was brilliant to spend quality time with my family in this place. This country completely captured my heart. I hope to visit Austria again, especially to for one of the New Year's concerts  of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Good bye  Mozart's country, I see you soon!

Activities for your holiday in Austria

Activities for your holiday in Austria

Activities for your holiday in Austria

Activities for your holiday in Austria

Activities for your holiday in Austria

Activities for your holiday in Austria

Activities for your holiday in Austria






14.2.18

Travelling in France: Saint Victor la Coste

Hello folks!

If you follow me on Instagram you probably know that I was in France the last month. It's absolutely no secret that the Bourbon's land was always my favourite country and that I have a special passion for the French lifestyle. One of my dreams is to purchase a summer house in France. 

I had many lovely moments during this trip, from taking my husband to his first visit to Versailles to meeting my friend Letícia and her fiancé in Paris. However, the most special one was to celebrate the wedding of my friend Clara in Saint Victor la Coste. We had a glorious week in the village and the ceremony was breathtakingly beautiful. Once again I would like to thank Clara and her husband's family for their hospitality and for sharing this special moment with Christian and me. 

Saint Victor la Coste is a commune in the Gard department, between Avignon and Uzès. The city's history dates back to pre-historic times, as traces of human settlements have been found around the village. Part of those traces, bones and vases, were found in the mountain by the family of Clara's husband. I had the privilege of seeing one of the bones, which is still in possession of the family. Saint Victor also faced a Roman invasion, remains of a Roman road are still there. Furthermore, the city is mainly known for its medieval times. During the XII century, the prestigious house of Sabran decided to build their château fort, known nowadays as Le Castellas, in the rocky mountain of the village, to demonstrate their power and to protect the vallée du Rhône region from external invaders.

The sun was shining during the most part of our days, creating the perfect scenario for us to explore the area. I loved to walk through the lanes and the village houses made of stone were so idyllic. Saint Victor was more than a beautiful place and a beautiful wedding for me, it was, in fact, an open door to a better understanding of the French culture. It was great to see how special and friendly the locals are. They truly celebrate the good life, the savoir-vivre. I could feel this through the nice relaxed vibe of the dinners and the way they care about wine and food.

Talking about food, whilst you're in Sint Victor: do never forget to drink your Luc Pélaquié, they are very proud of their wine and you should definitely give it a try, it's delicious! I regret not bringing some bottles in my suitcase... But it does not matter, as I forgot my pair of socks there I will come back to the village ;)

Saint Victor la Coste

Saint Victor la Coste

Saint Victor la Coste

Saint Victor la Coste

Saint Victor la Coste

2.11.17

Travelling in England: Bath


Travelling in England: Bath

Hello folks!

As you may already know, I have a special passion for history and archeology. I followed an ancient history module at university, brilliantly ministered by the archeologist Pedro Paulo Funari, whilst I was studying Political Science. I've also lived in Egypt for two months, where I explored the most fascinating ancient tombs, temples and, of course, the pyramids. Meaning, I could not visit England without seeing one of the finest historical sites in the country - the Roman Baths

The city of Bath itself is one of those must-see-places for England lovers, it has beautiful sights to visit, as the Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Paul, sophisticated shop lanes and the lovely Pulteney Bridge, from where you can see the crossing of the river Avon. However, the most important attraction is definitely the Roman Baths. Believe me, they are breathtakingly beautiful.

According to archeological researchers, before the Roman invasion, the site was already treated as a shrine by the Celtics, thanks to its natural hot springs. Later, the bath complex as we know it was developed by the Romans starting around 70 AD. It took over 300 years to reach its final size. The site is not just composed of the terrace, seen from outside, but of several buildings which are now underground, as the ruins of Minerva's temple, saunas, changing rooms and plunge swimming pools. The Baths still flow with spring water, more precisely 1.170.000 liters per day,  reaching comfy 46°C .

Walking through the Roman Bath was definitely one of the best experiences I've ever had. I will never forget the colour of the water flowing inside the chambers, the soft steam on my skin, the texture of the huge stones and the autumn breeze blowing across the terrace. It feels like the Romans somehow are still there, guiding and inviting us to their exotic universe. One of the reasons why my experience was so positive, is due to the smart design of the tour created by the museum responsibles, which are not offering just a visit, but a unique learning experience. It's a brilliant example of how a historical sites should be: accessible and interactive for everybody.

After visiting the Roman Baths we've continued our path exploring the 18th-century neoclassical buildings of the centre. It's interesting to observe that such different architectonic styles can work very well together to build a astonishing scenario, like a flute and a percussion in an orchestra. Moreover, the contemporary and funky spice is also very present, one of my favorites were the flowers growing inside the traditional red British telephone boxes in several places of the city. That said, we can definitely categorize Bath as a very eccentric town.

Although Bath is a relatively crowded city, we found a very cool independent coffee place called Cafe au lait. For me, it's very important to celebrate and encourage local businesses. I sat on their comfy bay window and we ordered hot chocolate with carrot cake. There was no better way to chill before leaving! I'm already missing Bath and I wish I could stay longer...








Travelling in England: Bath

Travelling in England: Bath

Travelling in England: Bath

Travelling in England: Bath

Travelling in England: Bath

Travelling in England: Bath

Travelling in England: Bath


19.10.17

A day in Brighton

Hello Folks!

As you may already know, I'm currently living in England and, as this adventure will last only a few months, I’ve had and decided to make the most of it. Meaning, I'm enjoying every single weekend to explore and visit new British cities! 

Brighton is one of those places I've been crazy to go since I live in Europe, so for me, visiting this city was a dream come true. For my surprise, the place is more beautiful than I could expect, from the higgledy-piggledy bohemian lanes to the lovely pier, I fell in love with the city. Christian and I decided to hop on the train and it took us about 2 hours and a half to arrive in Brighton from Southampton. Usually, this trip takes one hour and fifty minutes, however, part of the rails were blocked that day and everybody was transferred to a bus. In the end, everything was fine and the rail company managed to drive us to Brighton Central Station. Thus, if the rail gets blocked whilst you're traveling in the UK, don't worry, they will find a way to solve the problem!

As the weather has been so glorious during the beginning of this autumn we could enjoy the sunlight and the sweet breeze when walking through the lanes and the seaside. Our first stop was the North Lane area, the bohemian spirit of its inhabitants and shops is absolutely delightful, we loved every corner of this place. For us the highlight of North Lanes was to find a marked called Infinity Foods, there we found a huge selection of organic and vegetarian products, from food to cosmetics, cleaning, and baby products. It was also in this market that I bought a delicious vegan pizza for only £2,50. Oh, it would be great to have Infinity Foods in Belgium!

The second spot of our itinerary was to visit the BA i360, a futuristic glass viewing pod designed by Marks Barfield Architects, creators of the London Eye. However, as we had a limited amount of time, we decided to skip going up with the elevator and we've just admired the construction from outside. From there we walked on the seaside to the pier, enjoying the sea and the sun. We even stopped halfway through for a seafood salad from one of the adorable food kiosks around the area.

I totally fell in love with the Brighton Palace Pier since one of my YouTubers visited the place (Oh, yes, Brighton is the perfect backdrop to all our favourite YouTubers). It's fantastic to sit and relax on their striped chairs to feel the breeze. For everybody looking for a little adventure: The pier hosts one of the oldest amusement parks in England. Despite my appetite for adrenaline, the park was not the highlight of my day. Even though, I do recommend a visit to the Pier Palace, which was built in 1899 and still contains a bit the spa resort spirit of the old Brighton.

Our fourth tourist spot was the Royal Pavillion, which was built as a seaside retreat for the king Geroge IV in 1787. This is one of the most exotic palaces in the UK, mixing British, Indian and Chinese architectural styles. After visiting the Pavillion we went to explore an area called The Lanes, an interesting place full of historical twisting alleyways, in which we found several fancy and independent boutiques. Outstanding here was the store Choccywoccydoodah, firstly because I'm a chocoholic and secondly because of their absolute fantastic and scary Halloween decoration!

It was a lovely experience to stay wandered around Brighton, we had no previous planning and we've just decided to explore the city by ourselves. I'm still impressed by the fact we could manage to see so many attractions in such a short period of time. In the past, I didn't like to visit places without a proper planning, I was researching everything, from the history of the city to the names of the main streets. However, since last year, I'm regularly on spontaneous trips and enjoy it. It can be so relaxing to have a little time out from my daily routine!

Extra tips |  If you're a liberal person searching for a place to visit in England, I’d highly recommend Brighton. It's the ideal place to find like-minded young people. If I could choose, it would definitively be my first goal to go to in the UK. It's also obvious, so far, that Brighton was my favourite city for a weekend break!

A day in Brighton - UK

A day in Brighton - UK

A day in Brighton - UK

A day in Brighton - UK

A day in Brighton - UK


A day in Brighton - UK

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